With taking care of business being the only thing that mattered for Ohio State, the Buckeyes did just that.
J.T. Barrett topped 100 career touchdown passes in the fourth-year starter’s final home game. Mike Weber hit another home run, establishing slugger status behind an offensive line that plowed the way. The defense put a sleeper hold on the Illinois offense until the game was well in hand.
Barrett was 11-of-19 passing for 141 yards and two touchdowns, pushing his career TD pass total to 101. He long ago passed Bob Hoying (57) for the Ohio State record. Weber cut up through a hole provided by center Billy Price and company, ripped through one attempted tackle and romped 43 yards to a touchdown in the first quarter, his third breakaway TD run in two games. Weber also went over 100 yards (108) for the second straight game. Parris Campbell had three catches for 59 yards, and his dazzling end-around run for 44 yards set up a touchdown.
Price and the offensive line took control just like the week earlier against Michigan State. Right guard Demetrius Knox was among those who excelled in run blocking. The defensive line also exercised dominance. There was one third-down pass play in particular when it appeared there was no linebacker on the field and at least five defensive linemen.
There was little fancy in this one, unless that end-around to Campbell counts. The Buckeyes mostly stayed pretty basic on both sides of the ball.
After seemingly retiring near the end of the first half, Barrett and the rest of the first-team offense was summoned back to duty after Illinois returned a Dwayne Haskins fumble 54 yards for a touchdown at 11:04 of the third quarter. That’s when Barrett threw his second TD pass, but only after Elijah Goins forced a fumble on a punt catch and Jeffrey Okudah recovered.
Stat that matters
Ohio State’s advantage in total offense at halftime was 358-43. It told the story like no other.
There were no injuries reported by the Buckeyes.
By the numbers
12,149: Barrett’s career total offense total; he long ago passed Art Schlichter (8,850) for most at Ohio State
1: Illinois was limited to just one first down in the first half.
In a season that has seemed to fly by, The Game — a trip to Ann Arbor to take on the flagging Wolverines — is the next stop. The Buckeyes clinched the Big Ten East slot in the league championship game vs. Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Indianapolis and stayed alive in the College Football Playoff race. But no doubt coach Urban Meyer will stress this Thanksgiving week is all about The Game. He’s 5-0 vs. the Wolverines, 2-0 against Jim Harbaugh.